what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Novels and music

Have been indulging myself in past week – eg reading three John le Carre novels in quick succession – A Small Town in Germany (1968); The Second Pilgrim (1991); and The Looking Glass War (1965). His portrayal of Embassy life in the first two is cutting; and the dialogues on the compromises such people make rise occasionally to Shakespearean levels. Corporate power looms large in the middle book – and the conclusions of all three books, unusually for such thrillers, give idealists little hope. I’ve come late to le Carre and am hooked. He is a great wordsmith; crafts great atmosphere; and, by virtue of his focus on moral dilemmas, can reasonably claim to be one of the great political novelists.  
Pity he can’t be persuaded to write a novel based on Romanian political realities! Presumably someone will soon write a novel focused on the recent work of prosecutors here which, having put one ex-Prime Minister and a Minister of Agriculture into prison, now have another ex-Minister and current MEP in their sights 

A great Romanian pianist died at the weekend – at the tragically young age of 33 - Mihaela Ursuleasa
She represented Romania’s great cultural tradition whose musical side was celebrated recently in a Sarah in Romania post 
Not just the well-known Enescu but composers such as Porumbescu (here and here); Martian NeagraDinicu  and Constantinescu to mention a handful. And these are just some of the composers! Then throw in the performers eg The Balinescu quartet eg their wine’s so good and their Life and Death. Hopefully you can hear the YouTube music - for the moment I have no sound!
What a pity that their political class has dragged the country's reputation down!

And I have just learned that Gore Vidal has died - at age 86. I've only read a couple of his novels but it was his increasingly acerbic essays on American politics which had me rolling in the aisles - particularly his mock State of the Union addresses.

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